Settlers attempt more kidnappings
Settlers attempt to kidnap children near Hebron, Bethlehem
IMEMC 8 July by Chris Carlson — Several armed Israel settlers have attempted to kidnap a Palestinian child, after chasing him for more than a kilometer along a road near Hebron. A similar report has surfaced in Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem. Al-Haq human rights organization has issued a statement, via press release, regarding the nature of the recent settler attacks as they relate to illegal Israeli settlement policies. According to WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency, Coordinator of the Anti-wall and Settlement Popular Committee, Ratib Jabour, said that armed settlers chased Hani Al-Ka‘abna, 14, in a car along a rugged road in Al-Ka‘abna, to the east of Yatta, in an attempt to kidnap him. The boy, fortunately, managed to escape.
Near Bethlehem, a number of settlers driving an Israeli vehicle into Beit Sahour attempted to kidnap a Palestinian child. The attempted abduction took place near the YMCA Center, in Beit Sahour. The boy has been identified as one Ramadan Rayya, 17 years of age.
Settlers attack village of Einabus
EINABUS, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Nablus Team) 7 July — The village of Einabus lies approximately 10 km south of Nablus, in the northern half of the West Bank. The illegal settlement of Yizar is located just up the hill from the village.
In the evening of Monday, July 6th, ten to twelve settlers descended from the settlement and attacked a house in the village. According to witnesses, at least two of them were carrying rifles, and the rest were armed with stones. Their target was the house of an inhabitant named Saleh, who had died the previous day and whose family was in mourning. In keeping with tradition, only women and children were staying in the house, since the three day mourning period had not yet passed.
“They came to kidnap the boys,” said a witness when asked why he thought the settlers would attack that house. “They know there are only women and children there now.”
Young men from the village were able to chase away the settlers. They called the District Coordination Office, and the army entered the village, but by that time the settlers had vanished.
Violence / Attacks / Clashes / Kidnapping attempts / Arrests (West Bank and Jerusalem)
Israeli settler ‘shoots at Palestinians’ in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 8 July — An Israeli settler opened fire at a group of Palestinians in East Jerusalem late Monday, witnesses said. Witnesses told Ma‘an that a settler from Nof Zion settlement near the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood shot at a group of Palestinian youths while they were standing in front of a grocery store. While shooting, the settler shouted at the Palestinians to “leave,” locals said. Israelis also “formed a chain at the entrance of the neighborhood from both sides, and some were armed.” Witnesses said police arrived at the scene and dispersed the Israelis. A number of Palestinians went to the Jabal al-Mukabbir police station to report the incident.
Palestinian journalist, young woman attacked in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 7 July — A Palestinian journalist and a young Palestinian woman were wounded after two Israeli extremists attacked them near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on Monday. Journalist Nuha Musleh told Ma‘an she was interviewing a young woman from Jerusalem with another journalist when she was hit with a big rock on her shoulder, which caused her to suffer from bruises and lose consciousness. The young woman with her was also hit. Musleh added that Palestinians in the area chased down the perpetrators, who tried to flee, but were caught and transferred to the Salauddin street police department. She said that she was still at the police station giving her statement.
Israeli officers beat 3 Jerusalem teens
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 7 July – Three young Palestinian men from the Wadi al-Juz neighborhood of East Jerusalem say they were “brutally” beaten by Israeli troops who stormed a house in the neighborhood Saturday. Mahir Abu Dalou told Ma’an Monday that Israeli soldiers broke into a building belonging to his family late on Saturday evening. He added that his son Abdul-Rahman, 17, cousin Ammar Abu Dalou, 20, and their friend Majd Jamal Siyam, 16, were in the front yard of the building when the soldiers broke in. Israeli officers then “brutally” assaulted the three with rifle butts and clubs. The officers, he added, threatened to “beat and shoot my brother and my wife.” Abu Dalou added that his son Abdul-Rahman was taken to hospital for stitches after he sustained cuts in his face. Ammar Abu Dalou, he added, sustained bruises all over his body, while Majd Siyam was stopped for an hour after he was beaten on his head. “The soldiers treated us savagely under the guise that young men who partook in the clashes in the neighborhood were hiding in our house,” added Abu Dalou.
31 Palestinians kidnapped in Occupied Jerusalem
IMEMC 8 July by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Tuesday at dawn, 31 Palestinians, including children, in different neighborhoods in occupied Jerusalem, and various surrounding nearby Palestinian communities. Local sources said hundreds of soldiers invaded Sur Baher and Silwan towns, the at-Tour neighborhood and the Old City of Jerusalem. The Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Ad-Dameer) has reported that the army kidnapped 31 Palestinians during dawn hours, and moved them to a number of interrogation facilities in the city. Ad-Dameer added that the invasions are ongoing, and the army will likely conduct further home invasions and arrests … On Monday evening, soldiers kidnapped three Palestinians in Beit Safafa, and a child in Wadi al-Jouz neighborhood in Jerusalem.
Settlers attack Palestinian youth near Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 8 July — A group of Israeli settlers Tuesday attacked and beat up a young Palestinian man from Eastern Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron in the West Bank, according to a local activist. The Coordinator of the National Committee against the Wall and Settlement Rateb Jabour told WAFA that settlers attacked Mohammed Abu Aziza, 22, hurling stones at him as well as beating him up while he was grazing his sheep east of Yatta. Abu Aziza sustained several wounds and bruises throughout his body, in addition to fractures to his hand. He was transferred to hospital for treatment.
Summary of last week of Israeli settler violence directed at Palestinian civilians
[photo of armed settlers roaming the streets] IMEMC 8 July by Celine Haqbard — Over the past week, since the bodies of three Israeli settlers were found by police near Hebron, the streets of Jerusalem and areas near Israeli settlements in the West Bank have become ‘no go’ zones for Palestinian civilians, as mobs of angry Israelis roam the streets attacking random civilians. Here’s a summary of the attacks carried out since Monday 6/30: June 30: On the night of Monday June 30th, in two separate incidents, Israeli settlers in Hebron marched through the streets and wounded 19-year old Sajed Sultan in the head. In Bethlehem the same night, an Israeli settler intentionally hit Sanabel Attous, age 9, with his car, then drove away, leaving her critically wounded in a ditch. Israeli leaders and officials stepped up the anti-Palestinian statements that had begun nearly 3 weeks before when the settlers disappeared. On June 30th, former Israeli Knesset (Parliament) member posted a video Monday called Palestinian children “little terrorists”, and called for “Death to the enemy, evacuation, and wiping off of [their] smile”, according to a translation by the Electronic Intifada. EI also quoted Tzachi Hanegbi, a former cabinet minister from the ruling Likud party, as saying, “I don’t know how many Hamas leaders will remain alive after tonight.” A number of attacks took place late Monday night in Jerusalem….
Dozens of injuries in Hebron as army invasions escalate
IMEMC/Agencies 8 July by Saed Bannoura — Palestinian medical sources have reported that dozens of soldiers invaded, late on Monday at night and Tuesday at dawn, different areas in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, leading to clashes with local residents. Local sources in Hebron said dozens of residents suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation in Bab az-Zaweya area, in Hebron, in addition to Beit Ummar, al-‘Arroub refugee camp, al-Fawwar refugee camp, Kharsa area south of Doura town, and many nearby Palestinian communities. Medical sources in the al-’Arroub refugee camp said a young man was shot by a gas bomb in the abdomen, and suffered a moderate injury, while many Palestinians received treatment for the effects of tear gas inhalation. A young Palestinian man from Kharsa area was moved to a local hospital, suffering a moderate injury, after being shot by a rubber-coated metal bullet in his face. Clashes also took place in Aseeda area, in Beit Ummar town
Families injured after army targets their homes with gas bombs in Ramallah
IMEMC 8 July by Saed Bannoura — Palestinian medical sources have reported that dozens of Palestinians, including children, have been treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation, after Israeli soldiers fired [tear] gas bombs at their homes in Ras Karkar area, in Ramallah. Medics and rescue teams rushed to the scene, removed the families from their homes, and provided them with the needed medical treatment. Many children are among the wounded. The soldiers invaded several Palestinian communities in the Ramallah district, stormed and searched Palestinian homes, causing property damage. In related news, dozens of soldiers invaded Um ar-Reehan village, near Ya‘bad south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, stormed and violently searched several homes and stores.
Several Palestinians injured in Bethlehem
IMEMC/Agencies 8 July — Palestinian medical sources have reported, on Monday evening, that several Palestinians suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, near the Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque, north of the West Bank city of Bethlehem. The sources said soldiers, stationed near the Rachel Tomb area, including the nearby concrete military tower of the Annexation Wall, fired dozens of gas bombs at Palestinian protesters. All of the wounded received treatment by local medics. Clashes also took place in the Um Rokba area, south of the al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem, after dozens of soldiers invaded it. Several Palestinians have been treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation; soldiers also searched several homes.
Dozens injured by tear gas at Beit Ummar rally
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 7 July — Dozens of Palestinians were injured overnight Sunday after a rally in Beit Ummar was dispersed by Israeli forces, local activists said. Muhammad Ayyad Awad, a local popular committee activist, said that protesters had gathered in the center of Beit Ummar to demonstrate against the killing of Muhammad Abu Khdeir. Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets and tear gas in the town, lightly injuring dozens of people. Protesters responded by throwing stones, empty bottles and Molotov cocktails, with reports of one injured Israeli soldier. A tear gas canister landed inside the house of 60-year-old Ahmad al-Allami and his wife was evacuated to hospital for treatment. The rally was organized by Fatah and PFLP activists.
Clashes break out in Ramallah-area village
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 8 July — Several Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli forces who raided Saffa village west of Ramallah on Tuesday. Young men from the village threw stones at a military camp near the village, and Israeli forces responded by shooting at them and firing tear gas before chasing them into the village. They attacked the camp in response to the Israeli offensive on Gaza. Israeli forces raided several houses and climbed onto their rooftops.
Palestinians throw firebombs at military camp near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 8 July — Palestinian youths hurled Molotov cocktails at an Israeli military camp north of Ramallah late Monday, briefly setting it ablaze, a Ma‘an reporter said. Youths from the village of Umm al-Safa in the northern Ramallah district also hurled rocks at the camp, leading to clashes with Israeli forces. Soldiers responded with rubber-coated bullets and live fire, causing injuries. Israeli forces also chased the youths, but no detentions were reported.
Youths hurl firebombs at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 7 July — Dozens of Palestinian youths hurled Molotov cocktails at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus late Sunday, security officials said. Palestinian security forces told Ma‘an that youths gathered in the area after late prayers and hurled firebombs at the tomb, before being dispersed by security personnel … Jewish groups frequently visit Joseph’s Tomb under the protection of Israeli forces, who deploy heavily in the area and often clash with youths from the neighboring Balata refugee camp.
Israeli forces detain 3 near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 8 July — Israeli forces detained three Palestinians in the Ramallah-area village of ‘Aboud early Tuesday. Clashes erupted in the village after Israeli military forces detained Usama al-Barghouthi, Muhammad Sabti and Ali Hussein Abdulmajid. Youths from the village threw rocks at Israeli soldiers who shot rubber-coated steel bullets, tear-gas bombs and stun grenades.
Former Palestinian hunger-striker re-arrested
JENIN (Ma‘an) 8 July — Former Palestinian hunger-striker Khader Adnan was re-arrested by Israeli forces on Monday evening, his family said. Adnan, from ‘Arraba village near Jenin, was detained as he was returning from Nablus. Adnan was one of the first Palestinians to hold a long hunger strike in an Israeli jail.
Israeli offensive against Gaza
Here are two sites to use to keep up with this fast-changing story – this compilation of events in Gaza is by no means complete:
LIVE UPDATES: Rocket siren sounds in Zichron Ya’akov, farthest north yet
Haaretz 9 July UPDATED OFTEN [these updates are apparently accessible even to nonsubscribers] — Elderly woman among fatalities in Gaza; Iron Dome intercepts rockets over Tel Aviv, Ashdod; 160 sites targeted in overnight offensive. Latest updates: 2:24 P.M. Rocket sirens sound in Zichron Ya’akov, north of Hadera. 2:20 P.M. Two rockets fired from Gaza are intercepted over the southern Israeli city of Sderot. (Shirley Seidler) 2:00 P.M. The Iron Dome intercepts a rocket fired from Gaza toward the southern Israeli city of Kiryat Gat. (Shirley Seidler) 1:53 P.M. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will convene the Palestinian leadership at 3:30 P.M. on Wednesday at his bureau, during which he expected to sign the necessary documents for joining international organizations. Inter alia, he has requested to join the International Criminal Court in The Hague, a senior official told Haaretz. 1:30 P.M. Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi accuses the IDF of committing war crimes in Gaza by “purposefully wiping out entire families.” (Jack Khoury)
Israel steps up military offensive in Gaza LIVE UPDATES
RT Wednesday 9 July — CHECK this site for latest developments
Israeli official: We’ve dropped 400 tonnes of bombs on Gaza
Middle East Monitor 9 July — The Israeli Air Force has dropped approximately 400 tonnes of bombs and missiles on the Gaza Strip over the past two days, a senior official said today. Israeli radio quoted who they referred to as a “significant” figure, who could not be identified, as saying: “During the air force bombing of the Gaza Strip over the past two days, about 400 tonnes of bombs and missiles have been used, so increasing the level of destruction in the sector.” The Israeli officer said: “The organisations in Gaza have a few hundred long-range missiles; some of them are hidden in places that cannot be targeted.” Avihai Adraei, a spokesman for the Israeli army, said they had struck more than 160 targets throughout the Gaza Strip last night, pointing out that “since the beginning of the operation, 440 targets have been hit, and we have many more to go.” He added, via Twitter: “Among the targets hit tonight were 10 tunnels and six Hamas posts, including the Department of Homeland Security and National Security and Hamas’ marine police headquarters.” Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said: “The battle against Hamas will intensify over the coming days; it will exact a huge price.”
Eight children killed as Israeli warplanes relentlessly bomb Gaza – photos
Electronic Intifada 9 July by Maureen Clare Murphy — Less than two weeks after concluding its largest military assault on the occupied West Bank in more than a decade, Israel has relentlessly pounded the besieged Gaza Strip since Monday. The ongoing bombing campaign is the most severe violence inflicted by Israel on Gaza since its eight-day assault in November 2012, during which more than 150 Palestinians were killed, 33 of them children. More than 1,400 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, including 350 children, during Israel’s three consecutive weeks of attacks from air, land and sea during winter 2008-09. Twenty-five lives have been claimed by Israel in Gaza since Monday, including at least eight children, as warplanes bombed areas across Gaza, whose 1.7 million Palestinian residents live under a tightly-enforced siege and are unable to flee and have nowhere to seek shelter.
Israel claims four fighters killed near Israeli military base
IMEMC/Agencies 8 July — Palestinian fighters attempted to infiltrate into a military base, across the border with Gaza, and exchanged fire with Israeli soldiers who, according to Israeli sources, killed four. The Arabs48 News Website said the fighters swam towards the shore, close to the Zikim Israeli military base, and exchanged fire with Israeli naval officers. Israeli TV, Channel 10, said that the dozens of shells fired from Gaza into areas in central Israel came as a cover-up for the attack on the Zikim base. The army advised settlers living in nearby areas to remain indoors, and closed the Zikim area fearing more fighters might have been successful in infiltrating the area. In an initial report, the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said a group of its fighters was behind the attack, and that it managed to infiltrate the military base.
In another release, the Brigades said its fighters managed to fire dozens of shells into Israeli areas, including 35 shells fired into Israel, on Monday evening. Israel said Palestinian fighters in Gaza fired shells that reached the skies of Tel Aviv before being intercepted by the Iron Dome missile interception system … Israeli Ynet News said nine Israelis were hurt, explaining that one of them was hit by shrapnel in the foot, one hurt himself while running towards a shelter, and the rest suffered ‘anxiety attacks.’
Meanwhile in Gaza, nineteen Palestinians, including three children, have been killed and their bodies severely mutilated, while more than 100 have been wounded, as the Israeli army fired missiles into several Palestinian residential areas, and homes, in Gaza. The latest two casualties were a father and his child, who were killed by Israeli missiles in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood, in Gaza city. Shortly after six in the evening, six Palestinians, including three children, were injured by Israeli missiles targeting al-Mashtal area, west of Gaza city.
Israel kills top Gaza militant, five others in air strike – Gaza officials.
GAZA (Reuters) 9 July — Israel assassinated a top local leader of the Islamic Jihad militant group in the northern Gaza Strip early on Wednesday, neighbours and hospital officials said, and five others including family members were also killed. An Israeli military spokeswoman said she had no initial details on the strike. The militant, Hafez Hamad, two brothers and his parents were killed when his house was bombed in an air strike in the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, Hamas media and Gaza interior ministry said. An unidentified woman in the house was also killed. That brought the death toll in Gaza to at least 22 since Israel launched its offensive on Tuesday. It included four Hamas gunmen, a senior Islamic Jihad leader and 17 civilians, including seven children.
Seven Palestinians killed after army bombs home in Khan Younis
IMEMC/Agencies 8 July by Saed Bannoura — Palestinian medical sources have reported that seven Palestinian civilians have been killed, and at least 25 have been injured, after the Israeli Air Force fired a missile into a Palestinian home, in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Army missiles have killed eleven Palestinians, Tuesday. So far, five of the slain Palestinians have been identified as Mohammad ‘Ashour, 13, Hussein Kaware‘, 14, Riyadh Kaware‘, 50, in addition to Bakr and Ammar Joudah, 22.
The sources said the dozens of Palestinians gathered in, around and on top of a home that belongs to members of the Kaware‘ family, after the family received call from the Israeli army informing them the air force intends to fire missiles into their home. Following the call, dozens of residents gathered there, clearly visible from the air and the ground, in a move meant to send a message to the army not to bombard the civilian property, and the people. Despite the clearly visible presence of dozens of civilians, the Israeli pilot went ahead and fired missile into the property, turning it into rubble, killing seven civilians, and wounding at least 25.
In an earlier attack, the army fired a missile into a civilian car, in the center of Gaza city, killing three Palestinians identified as Mohammad Sha‘ban, 24, Amjad Sha‘ban, 30, and Khader Abu Jabal. All are from Jabalia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. Also on Tuesday, a Palestinian identified as Rashad Yassin, was killed when the army fired missiles into the Nusseirat refugee camp, in central Gaza.
Gaza mosques destroyed, civilians injured in Israeli air strikes
KHAN YOUNIS (PIC) 8 July — Israeli warplanes blasted two mosques in Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip, on Tuesday afternoon at a time when the peaceful Muslim congregation rallied for afternoon prayers. According to an on-the-spot reporter, the Israeli warplanes launched a wave of air raids on al-Huda and Omar Ibn Abdul Aziz mosques, east of Khan Younis, reducing them to rubble. A spate of other military operations targeting the Gaza Strip has been launched by the Israeli air force at dawn Tuesday. The raids rocked dozens of towns and refugee camps in the Strip. One young man was killed while many others sustained severe wounds throughout the salvos. PIC news reporter documented a volatile return to Israeli pre-planned schemes targeting civilians’ homes in the Gaza Strip. 24 Gazans, including children, have been left wounded in the process. Along the same line, The Palestinian Health Ministry declared a state of emergency due to such an escalation in Israeli aggression against Gaza since the early morning hours, warning of its inability to cope with such an upsurge in the rates of Palestinian casualties.
Hamas claims rocket fire on Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa
GAZA CITY (AFP) 9 July — The armed wing of Hamas claimed that it fired several rockets at Jerusalem and Israeli cities Tel Aviv and Haifa Tuesday. “For the first time, the Qassam Brigades strike Haifa with an R160 rocket, and strike occupied Jerusalem with four M75 rockets and Tel Aviv with four M75 rockets,” a statement said. It was the first time since a major 2012 conflict that Gaza-based militants had fired rockets at the holy city, and came as Israel pressed an aerial offensive against the besieged coastal Strip. More than 130 rockets were fired at Israel on Tuesday, the army said, after the military began the offensive it called Operation Protective Edge. Most hit open spaces causing no damage, and at least 23 were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, the military said. Tuesday’s airstrikes against at least 150 targets had killed at least 17 people, both militants and civilians, and wounded more than 100 in Gaza, medics said.
Loud explosions rock Jerusalem after air raid sirens sound
JERUSALEM (AFP) 8 July – Three loud explosions rocked Jerusalem shortly after air raid sirens wailed across the city Tuesday night, AFP correspondents said. The sirens sounded at around 1900 GMT, with at least four bright flashes lighting the sky southwest of the city, a correspondent said.
Hamas armed wing sets conditions for ceasefire
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 July — The military wing of Hamas, the al-Qassam Brigades, has presented five conditions in order to return to a ceasefire with Israel. Spokesman Abu Obeida said Tuesday Israel must stop its offensive on Gaza Strip, cease all airstrikes and commit to the ceasefire agreement signed in 2012. He added in a news conference that his group demanded the release of all freed prisoners in the Shalit exchange deal who were re-arrested, and to stop interfering in the new unity government. Abu Obeida added that al-Qassam did not want to reach this stage of violence. He threatened that if Israel continued to target homes, al-Qassam will “extend the circle of its targets.”
Israeli reduces Gaza imports
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 July — Israel has reduced the amount of goods allowed to be shipped into the Gaza Strip for two days in a row, a Palestinian official said Monday. Raed Fattouh, an official responsible for the entry of goods into Gaza, told Ma’an that Israel only allowed 150 truckloads of goods into the Strip via Kerem Shalom crossing on Sunday and Monday, down from the usual 350-450. Only a limited quantity of diesel fuel for Gaza’s sole power plant has been allowed, and only a small amount of gasoline, Fattouh added.
Collaborators captured in Gaza
Middle East Monitor 8 July — Several Palestinians who have been collaborating with the Israeli occupation have been captured in the Gaza Strip, a news website said yesterday. Al-Majd, a Palestinian website which specialised in security information, said the Palestinian resistance captured the collaborators while they followed fighters and observed places where fighters could be hiding. The website did not disclose the names of the collaborators, who were asked by Israeli intelligence services to look for new Palestinian targets for future attacks. The Palestinian resistance believes the Israeli “bank of targets” had run out; therefore, the Israeli intelligence services asked collaborators to search for new targets. One of the collaborators confessed he was asked to oversee a farmland near to his house and to see who uses it and what they do there. Another one said he was asked by the Israeli Shabak to look for houses of Palestinian political and military leaders. The website reported that the Palestinian resistance would continue following up on collaborators and it might execute those who cause the assassination of Palestinians.
Land, property theft & destruction / Restriction of movement
Israel to demolish residential sheds, youth center near Jericho
JERICHO (WAFA) 8 July – Israeli forces Tuesday notified residents of the town of Nuweimeh near Jerico of their intentions to demolish their residential sheds and a youth center in the area, according to local sources. Forces handed notices to demolish several sheds that shelters several families in the town, leaving the families homeless, in addition to a notice to demolish a youth center for Bedouin gatherings in the area.
Israeli bulldozers raze large areas of land south of Jenin
JENIN (WAFA) 8 July — Israeli bulldozers continued razing tens of dunums of land adjacent to the settlement of ‘Mabo Dothan‘ on Tuesday, north-west of the town of ‘Arraba to the south of Jenin, for the second consecutive day, as a prelude to take over the land. Jamal Lutfi Zuhair, the owner of the land, explained that Israeli bulldozers stormed his 40 dunums of land, mostly planted with olive trees, and proceeded to raze the land without any prior notice even though he has documents proving his ownership of the land. Zuhair added that he had made a formal complaint to the Palestinian Distinct Coordination Office (DOC) on the intent of Israel to seize the land, which belongs to him and other family members, in order to expand the settlement of ‘Mabo Dothan’.
Israeli settlers raze Palestinian land in West Bank
Middle East Monitor 8 July — Israeli settlers used two bulldozers to raze a six-dunam area of Palestinian land near the West Bank city of Bethlehem under the protection of the Israeli occupation forces. Head of village council of Kaysan, Hussein Ghazal said the bulldozers, which were protected by the Israeli occupation forces, leveled the Palestinian land and olive trees. Ghazal said the land is owned by the Palestinian families from Al-Shoyoukh, Al-Rashaydeh and Ibayyat, an official Palestinian news agency reported. According to Ghazal, the settlers and the Israeli army have been intimidating the Palestinians in that area for a long time. They prevent landowners from reaching their property. He said the Israeli movement in the area is part of an effort to expand the nearby settlement.
Israeli police close Aqsa to women, young men
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 8 July — Israeli police have closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque since the early morning hours Monday to women and young [and apparently middle-aged] men, witnesses told Ma‘an. Only elderly men are allowed to access the compound and they have to leave their ID cards with Israeli officers stationed at the main gates. In addition, Israeli police have shut down four main gates leading to the compound. As a result, women and young men demonstrated outside the Council Gate protesting being denied entry.
896 Palestinians arrested since start of Israeli arrest campaign
RAMALLAH (PIC) 8 July — Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) detained 896 Palestinians from different parts of the West Bank since the Israeli arrest campaign started in mid-June, the Palestinian Prisoner Society revealed on Tuesday. 66 arrests were carried out overnight yesterday including 24 Palestinians from 1948 occupied Palestine, 36 Palestinians from occupied Jerusalem, and 6 others from Bethlehem, Tulkarem, Ramallah and Jericho. Meanwhile, Palestine Center for Prisoner Studies said that more than 1555 Palestinians were arrested during the second quarter of 2014, while 1175 others were detained during the first quarter of the year. An overall statistic said that 2730 arrests were carried out since the beginning of 2014. Spokesman for the center Riad al-Ashqar said that the second quarter of the year has witnessed an increase in detainees’ numbers estimated at 31% in comparison to the first quarter due to the Israeli unprecedented arrest campaign throughout the West Bank in mid-June following the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers in al-Khalil.
PPS: Israeli court extends detentions
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 7 July — An Israeli court extended the detention of 10 Palestinians and put another on house arrest on Monday, a lawyer said. Mufid al-Hajj, lawyer for the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, said that the detention of Karim Abu Khdeir, Fathi al-Shawish, and Ammar Abu Hussein was extended for a second time to July 9. The detention of two minors, Mahmoud Abu Khdeir and Muhammad Abu Nea, was extended until July 8. Meanwhile, Israeli authorities extended the detention of Ahmad Salhab, Nasser Abu Subeih, Khaled Abu Snineh, Alaa Abu Laban, and Shafe Salhab for a third time until June 9. Mahmoud Abu Rmeileh was sentenced to house arrest for 10 days, prevented from entering the Shu‘fat neighborhood for 30 days, and fined 5000 shekels ($1,461).
24 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jail poisoned after eating expired food
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 7 July — Palestinian Prisoners Club (PPC’s) lawyer, Annan Khadr, said that 24 Palestinian prisoners detained at the Israeli ‘Hawara’ jail were poisoned after they were given expired food by the prison administration. The prisoners told the lawyer during his visit to them that the administration of the prison provided them with expired food, which caused the detainees severe abdominal pain and diarrhea for two consecutive days. Prisoners said that even though the administration was informed of their bad state of health, they did not provide them with the necessary treatment. ‘Hawara’ jail is known to be one of the worst detention centers, and is described by detainees as not fit for human beings.
Mad as hell: When the Arab news anchor couldn’t take it anymore
Haaretz 8 July by Moran Sharir — TV host Lucy Aharish did something unusual on-air Monday: She finally snapped after hearing one extremist Jewish panelist too many — Lucy Aharish, the Arab-Israeli television host, woke up. Her awakening came a bit late and was not exactly aimed at the right target, but that’s not the important thing. The important thing is that on Monday, the news anchor awoke from a long coma. The previous day, Benzi Gopstein – a merry Israeli trouper from Kiryat Arba in the West Bank – was a guest on the current-affairs program she hosts on Channel 2 (“Sihat Hayom” – “Talk of the Day”). Gopstein expounded his doctrine about Arabs’ place in Israeli society (according to him, they have none) and argued with the members of the panel, with the elephant standing right there in the room – in this case, the program host, an Arab woman, who sat there, doing a slow burn until she reached boiling point. On Monday, Aharish began her program with a calm, well-considered monologue. When reality-show refugee Dan Manu tried to defend Gopstein’s appearance, Aharish pulled out all the stops, releasing the feelings she had kept inside for so long.
Adalah: Israeli Ministry of Health and businesses boycott Arab towns in Israel
Middle East Monitor 8 July — A number of Arab citizens in Israel said that Israeli businesses, such as the electricity and communication companies, have refused to provide services in Arab towns in Israel in the wake of the protests that these areas have witnessed in recent days. Arabs 48 news website reported that Adalah, the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, sent an urgent appeal on Monday after the Israeli Ministry of Health closed an important medical clinic in Umm Al-Fahm and a number of companies, including the electricity company, the telecommunication company Bezeq and Orange for mobile services, decided to close shop in the Arab areas and prevented their teams and staff from providing services to Arabs in the cities and villages more generally. The Ministry of Health in Al-Khdeira announced on Sunday that it had closed a clinic in Umm Al-Fahm specialising in the health of newborn babies and pregnant mothers. Earlier, the telecommunication company Bezeq ordered its teams and staff not to enter Arab villages, including those villages that did not witness any confrontations or protests. Adalah received several complaints about other companies adopting similar behaviours, such as Orange for mobile communications and the electricity company, which has refused to provide services to Arabs in Nazareth and Wadi Ara.
Well-known Israeli Arab leader arrested for involvement in riots
Ynet 7 July by Hassan Shaalan, Ahiya Raved — Police arrested one of the leaders of the Abnaa el-Balad movement on Monday on suspicions of incitement, organization and involvement in protests and riots in Umm al-Fahm and other places. He is suspected of organizing solidarity rallies with the Palestinian people in Wadi Ara over the weekend, as well as a protest two weeks ago during which participants called for the kidnapping of soldiers. The suspect, who will be brought in front of a judge at the Haifa Magistrate’s Court for a remand extension on Tuesday, told Ynet on Sunday: “We’re planning a protest this coming Friday in Nazareth in solidarity with the Palestinian people, and in protest of the murder of Mohammad Abu Khdeir from Shuafat.” Nazareth Mayor Ali Salam, however, said there won’t be a protest in the city. The suspect is a political activist well known in the Arab sector, and a member of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel.
Why Sayed Kashua is leaving Jerusalem and never coming back / Sayed Kashua
Haaretz 4 July — Everything people had told him since he was a teenager is coming true. Jewish-Arab co-existence has failed — My children will soon be home and I will take them to Tira. I don’t want to stay here another minute. I will call the travel agent, maybe she can get us out of here tomorrow. My wife will scream that she has committed to working until the end of the month. She can stay here if she wants, she can join us next month. “What don’t you understand?” I said to her when I begged her not to go to work. “It’s over.” “Have you lost it?” she shouted back at me. “What in the blazes is over?” I was silent, knowing that my attempt at living together with others in this country was over. That the lie I’d told my children about a future in which Arabs and Jews share the country equally was over. I wanted to say to my wife that this is really the end, it’s finished. That I’d lost my small war, that everything people had told me since I was a teenager was coming true before my eyes. That all those who told me that there is a difference between blood and blood, between one person and another person, were right. That all those who told me that I have no place other than Tira spoke the truth … Right now, though, I’m home with my firstborn daughter. She’s angry and has closeted herself in her room. I knock gently on the door, but she doesn’t answer. She’s sitting on her bed with her computer. I sit down next to her on the bed, knowing I’m about to tell her what my father told me when I was a boy her age. It was my first day at a Jerusalem boarding school, where only Hebrew was spoken. My father drove me there from Tira, and a moment before parting from me, at the entrance to the school, he said, “Remember that for them you will always, but always, be an Arab, understand?” “I understand,” my daughter said and hugged me close, “I understood it already by myself.”
Abu Khdeir family rejects [former Israeli president’s] condolences for son’s death
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 8 July — The family of Muhammad Abu Khdeir said Monday that they “refused to welcome” the former Israeli president in a condolences tent in their house in Shu‘fat. A family member told Ma‘an that the “bodyguards of Shimon Peres came to the tent earlier to prepare for his visit” but the family refused to receive him … He highlighted that the family rejected the Israeli prime minister’s condolences and said that “we refuse to accept the condolences of someone who agrees on the murder of our people in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.” The family added that the Israeli government was covering up the attacks of Israeli settlers and did not punish them. [note that some 826 Israelis went in an Israeli Social TV group to the tent to offer condolences, and they were welcomed]
Abbas phones Egypt president for help on Gaza
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 9 July – President Mahmoud Abbas telephoned Egyptian President Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi on Tuesday evening and asked him to intervene to save the Palestinian people from the ongoing escalation in Gaza. According to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa, Abbas updated al-Sisi on the “dangerous Israeli escalation.” The Egyptian president, for his part, confirmed to Abbas that “Egypt is concerned about the safety of the Palestinian people and wishes to stop this dangerous attack and reach a ceasefire as soon as possible.” Al-Sisi confirmed that Egypt has been exerting efforts since the beginning of the attacks.
Israel’s Lieberman breaks alliance with PM over Gaza
JERUSALEM (AFP/Ma‘an) 7 July– Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday ended a 20-month political alliance between his party and the ruling right-wing Likud, although his faction will remain in government. The decision was announced at a press conference after a bitter dispute between Lieberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the government’s handling of intensifying rocket fire by militants in the Gaza Strip. Lieberman, who heads the right-wing nationalist Yisrael Beitenu, had formed an electoral alliance with Netanyahu’s Likud in October 2012 ahead of a January 2013 election, in a move they said would enable them to better face security challenges … But following a dispute with Netanyahu over Gaza, which saw Lieberman pushing for a full reoccupation of the territory, the minister decided to end their electoral alliance. “It’s no secret that there are fundamental disagreements which no longer allow us to work together, so we have advised the Knesset committee that we are separating and setting up a separate faction,” he said. It was not immediately clear how many seats each faction would hold … Lieberman renewed his call for a major ground operation in Gaza in response to the rocket fire.
Video: I filmed the LAPD assaulting me at pro-Israel demo
Electronic Intifada 9 July by Ali Abunimah — Officers of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) assaulted me without provocation as I spoke to and filmed participants at a pro-Israel rally on the north side of Wilshire Blvd. by the Israeli consulate this evening. I was handcuffed and threatened, and I caught it all on video. Across the road, on the south side of Wilshire, was a Palestine solidarity rally called for by a number of peace and justice groups to protest Israel’s rampage of lethal violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. I arrived directly to the pro-Israel counter-demonstration without first having been to the Palestine solidarity rally. I wanted to speak to people and record their opinions. As I was arriving, I heard one participant say: “A good Muslim is a dead Muslim.” I approached him and asked him, “What could make all this stop?” He answered: “Eliminate Muslims” and launched into an anti-Muslim tirade. Another person heard him and objected to his words, telling me, “That’s not true. Terrorists are the problem,” and “I have a lot of Palestinian friends.”We were having a conversation when, without any warning, I was assaulted by LAPD officers. I was profiled: one officer asked, “Are you with the Palestine?” In the video, the officers claim that I had disobeyed an order. This is untrue. I was assaulted and restrained without warning and when I asked the officers to stop assaulting me and let me go, they put handcuffs on me…
In my book The Battle for Justice in Palestine, I write about the close cooperation between Israel and US big city police departments, including the LAPD. In January, as Rania Khalek reported, LAPD top brass went on their most recent junket where they fell in love with Israeli drones. I wonder if it is that cooperation that predisposes officers to see anyone suspected of being “with the Palestine” as a threat. What is clear is that I was profiled and treated as a threat like so many Angelenos, particularly people of color.
Analysis / Opinion
Abbas’ cooperation with Israel sinking him at home / Amira Hass
Haaretz 8 July — Since the abduction of the three murdered Israeli youths, the standing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas among the Palestinian public has reached a new low. The reports of “disputes” that broke out between Abbas and his colleagues at a meeting of the Fatah central committee last week have been denied, but key members of the movement told him they are finding it difficult to represent his positions, and in particular are finding it hard to defend the security coordination with Israel. Only 10 percent of the Palestinian people support Abbas, a Fatah member who is a resident of a refugee camp and a former prisoner said this week. Nonetheless, at this stage there is no one in the Fatah or Palestine Liberation Organization who is seriously challenging Abbas’ rule and leadership — only his advanced age is doing that. He continues to hold all the authority and political decision-making in his own hands as the “president of the State of Palestine,” the chairman of the PLO and the chairman of Fatah. Official and unofficial spokesmen have been briefed in recent weeks how to check the criticism against Abbas. The murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the East Jerusalem youth murdered by young Jewish terrorists, provided Abbas and the Fatah movement with the opportunity to adapt their approach to that of the general Palestinian public — but both in practice and in principle there has been no change. His critics say he sticks to his diplomacy of appeasement and concessions toward Israel, which is what allows Israel to thwart the two-state solution. So the question remains: How does Abbas manage to continue to impose his positions and prevent the West Bank from burning — like East Jerusalem burns? … One of the explanations of his political power is that Abbas controls the money — to the PLO, Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, from the salaries of the most junior police officer to the most veteran member of the PLO council. Abbas’ approach — keeping the peace as much as possible (with the help of the security services and the security coordination with Israel) — suits the Palestinian middle and upper middle classes. “For the past 25 years we [Fatah] have aided Israel in postponing the decision on ending the occupation,” said the senior Fatah official who called Abbas’ faith in the Americans a “false hope.” http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.603678
Former security chief: Blame the Israeli government, not the Palestinians, for the crisis
Vox 7 July by Max Fisher — Yuval Diskin, the chief of Israel’s internal security agency the Shin Bet from 2005 to 2011, has posted a withering criticism of the Israeli government and its handling of the recent violence on his public Facebook page. He squarely blames Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government for the recent crisis, which began with the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli students in the West Bank and has spiraled into much wider violence, including the murder of a 16-year-old Palestinian by Israeli extremists. Diskin, who has frequently criticized Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its role in the Palestinian conflict since retiring, writes that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is primarily responsible for the worsening violence. Here is the core of Diskin’s argument, translated from Hebrew by the Jewish Daily Forward’s J.J. Goldberg. (Unsurprisingly, he lavishes praise on the Shin Bet, but the rest is worth reading.) You can read Goldberg’s full translation of Diskin’s post here. “Dear friends: Take a few moments to read the following words and share them with others. I see the severe and rapid deterioration of the security situation in the territories, Jerusalem and the Triangle and I’m not surprised. Don’t be confused for a moment. This is the result of the policy conducted by the current government, whose essence is: Let’s frighten the public over everything that’s happening around us in the Middle East, let’s prove that there’s no Palestinian partner, let’s build more and more settlements and create a reality that can’t be changed, let’s continue not dealing with the severe problems of the Arab sector in Israel, let’s continue not solving the severe social gaps in Israeli society. This illusion worked wonderfully as long as the security establishment was able to provide impressive calm on the security front over the last few years as a result of the high-quality, dedicated work of the people of the Shin Bet, the IDF and the Israel Police as well as the Palestinians whose significant contribution to the relative calm in the West Bank should not be taken lightly. However, the rapid deterioration we’re experiencing in the security situation did not come because of the vile murder of Naftali, Eyal and Gil-Ad, may their memories be blessed. The deterioration is first and foremost a result of the illusion that the government’s inaction on every front can actually freeze the situation in place, the illusion that “price tag” is simply a few slogans on the wall and not pure racism, the illusion that everything can be solved with a little more force, the illusion that the Palestinians will accept everything that’s done in the West Bank and won’t respond despite the rage and frustration and the worsening economic situation, the illusion that the international community won’t impose sanctions on us, that the Arab citizens of Israel won’t take to the streets at the end of the day because of the lack of care for their problems, and that the Israeli public will continue submissively to accept the government’s helplessness in dealing with the social gaps that its policies have created and are worsening, while corruption continues to poison everything good, and so on and so on.
Our wretched Jewish state / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 6 July — Now we know: In the Jewish State, there is pity and humane feelings only for Jews, rights only for the Chosen People. The Jewish state is only for Jews –The youths of the Jewish state are attacking Palestinians in the streets of Jerusalem, just like gentile youths used to attack Jews in the streets of Europe. The Israelis of the Jewish state are rampaging on social networks, displaying hatred and a lust for revenge, unprecedented in its diabolic scope. Some unknown people from the Jewish state, purely based on his ethnicity. These are the children of the nationalistic and racist generation – Netanyahu’s offspring. For five years now, they have been hearing nothing but incitement, scaremongering and supremacy over Arabs from this generation’s true instructor, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Not one humane word, no commiseration or equal treatment. They grew up with the provocative demand for recognition of Israel as a “Jewish state,” and they drew the inevitable conclusions. Even before any delineation of what a “Jewish state” means – will it be a state that dons tefillin (phylacteries), kisses mezuzot (doorpost fixtures with prayer scrolls), sanctifies charms, closes down on the Sabbath and keeps strict kashrut laws? – the penny has dropped for the masses. The mob was the first to internalize its true significance: a Jewish state is one in which there is room only for Jews. The fate of Africans is to be sent to the Holot detention center in the Negev, while that of Palestinians is to suffer from pogroms. That’s how it works in a Jewish state: only this way can it be Jewish … In a Jewish state, the High Court of Justice approves the demolition of a murder suspect’s family home even before his conviction. A Jewish state legislates racist and nationalist laws. The media in the Jewish state wallows in the murder of three yeshiva students, while almost entirely ignoring the fates of several Palestinian youths of the same age who have been killed by army fire over the last few months, usually for no reason. No one was punished for these acts – in the Jewish state there is one law for Jews and another for Arabs, whose lives are cheap … In the Jewish state, there is no remnant of the biblical injunction to treat the minority or the stranger with justice. There are no more Jews left who marched with Martin Luther King or who sat in jail with Nelson Mandela. The Jewish state, which Israel insists the Palestinians recognize, must first recognize itself. At the end of the day, at the end of a terrible week, it seems that a Jewish state means a racist, nationalistic state, meant for Jews only.
Teen murder forces Israel to face its extremist demons
JERUSALEM (AFP) 7 July by Daphne Rousseau — The involvement of Jewish extremists in the brutal murder of a Palestinian teenager has forced Israel to confront the growing danger of violently anti-Arab narrative peddled by the far-right fringe. “The diabolical murder of 16-year-old Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khder is the Shin Bet’s nightmare scenario,” wrote Yossi Melman in Maariv newspaper, referring to Israel’s internal security agency. “It is a scenario in which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict turns into a tribal battle between two communities according to the biblical formula of an eye for an eye, which is likely to leave in its wake destruction, ruin and scorched earth on both sides.” Shin Bet is leading the inquiry into the murder of Abu Khder, whose charred body was found in woodland on Wednesday morning, shortly after he was kidnapped from annexed east Jerusalem. Initial post mortem results showed he was still alive when they set fire to him. Six Jewish suspects, three of them minors, were arrested early on Sunday in connection with the killing — which is believed to be a bloody act of revenge for the murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank last month. Three of them have confessed to the murder, a source close to the investigation told AFP on Monday. – Inspired by Kahana Israel press reports have suggested the involvement of two groups: “La Familia”, a gang of extremist football fans who follow Beitar Jerusalem and are known for their virulently racist outbursts, and Lehava, a far-right group which campaigns against intermarriage, particularly with Arabs. Both groups are active on social media, with La Familia boasting 13,000 “likes” on Facebook. Other extremist groups maintain a much lower profile, such as the so-called hilltop youth, a group of hardline nationalist settlers known for seizing hilltops in the occupied West Bank in order to establish new unauthorised settlement outposts. They are also believed to be behind a growing wave of racist, anti-Arab vandalism, euphemistically termed “price tag” attacks which initially began as a reaction to state moves against the settlements but has morphed into a much broader expression of xenophobia. Ideologically, such groups take their inspiration from Kahanism, a racist anti-Arab ideology espoused by Rabbi Meir Kahana whose Kach party and another offshoot were banned in 1994 after one of its members gunned down 29 Muslims in a Hebron mosque.
Hamas is looking for a way out / Zvi Bar’el
Haaretz 8 July — The organization’s financial straits far outweigh the image boost provided by Operation Protective Edge — Hamas did not order Operation Protective Edge. It also did not want to participate in the festival of Qassam rocket firings started by Islamic Jihad and the Popular Committees. All these were in clear contrast to the interests that have guided Hamas so far. Khaled Meshal, the head of the Hamas political leadership abroad who praised “the hands that carried out the kidnapping of the settlers,” went to the trouble of declaring that Hamas did not know in advance of the abductions and his organization was not behind the incident. As far as he is concerned, the abductions, murders and their consequences ruined a number of political moves he had been trying to develop since the reconciliation with Fatah; and now it has brought the Israeli operation down on him. Hamas’ single most important issue is preserving its status as the sole ruler of the Gaza Strip, both from a military and a civilian perspective. From the security standpoint, Hamas enjoys the status of being solely in charge – a status given to it by Israel. The civilian side is where things have become more unstable … Meshal recently asked Turkey and Qatar to attempt to convince Israel to stop the attacks, and the Hamas leadership is calling on all the organizations in the Gaza Strip to “unite in the face of the Israeli aggression.” This is an interesting appeal that testifies to the fact that Hamas is incapable of enforcing its will over some of the organizations, and it has been dragged into a war situation because of the actions of the separatist organizations who started the rocket attacks in the first place. This is how Hamas has found itself in the same situation as Abbas. Hamas was the one in the past who challenged the peace negotiations and Abbas’ policies; but now, when Hamas actually aspires to rehabilitate its image, it finds itself in competition with the separatist organizations in Gaza. The way out for Hamas is through external mediation that will offer a temporary cease-fire, from which it will be possible to return to the rules of the game that were set after Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012.
Talk of peace is futile without regime change
Haaretz 8 July by Sefi Rachlevsky — Even closed eyes can see the return of the alliance that led to Rabin’s murder: Netanyahu and the inciting rabbis — An Israeli folk tale tells of a truck that sought to bring a water cistern from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. As it was ascending a hill en route, the truck went over a bump and the cistern fell off. But when the truck reversed to pick it up, it fell into the cistern. The water cistern Israel carried until it fell into it is the occupation and the messianic, racist theology it instilled. Ministers from Habayit Hayehudi rushed Ze’ev Hever to the decisive meetings of the diplomatic-security cabinet this week. Hever is a terrorist who was convicted in the case of the Jewish Underground, a terrorist organization that deliberately murdered innocents. Another terrorist convicted in this case was Natan Natanzon. Natanzon is a top adviser to Habayit Hayehudi chairman Naftali Bennett. It gets worse. Menachem Livni, who led this terrorist organization, testified that the person who ordered the group’s attacks, aimed them against innocents and pressured him to carry out the specific terror attack that led to his capture – the attempted blowing up of six buses full of passengers – was Rabbi Dov Lior. Lior is Habayit Hayehudi’s most influential authority figure. He is the one who chose Housing Minister Uri Ariel. Lior also deemed Baruch Goldstein, who murdered 29 Muslim worshippers in Hebron in 1994, “holier than all the martyrs of the Holocaust.” Yet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – knowing full well who Lior is, including from the head of the Shin Bet – termed him “the elite unit that leads the nation of Israel.” And indeed, he does lead it. What has been published about the religious/ultra-Orthodox background of those who burned a teenager alive isn’t surprising.